Dawson’s as we know it had it’s humble beginnings in 1903, when a partnership was formed between George Russell Dawson and Edward James Harrison. Dawson and Harrison established their first production nursery in Belmont and plants were originally delivered by horse and cart to businesses and residences around Perth.
Ten years later, Dawson and Harrison were looking to expand their enterprise and in 1914, purchased the land on which the present Forrestfield Garden Centre stands. The firm’s original Forrestfield block was of 100 acres, much of which has since been developed for housing.
Nursery and orchard planting began in earnest at Forrestfield. In the early years Dawson’s were also a significant fruit producer, with the firm supplying about 25-30 tons, a year, of Satsuma plums for jam making. Extensive cut flower crops were also grown at Forrestfield and the flowers sold through Dawson’s city flower shop and Interflora franchise. Nursery stock production was very different then with most trees, shrubs and roses being grown in the ground and sold as bare rooted plants or lifted and wrapped in sacking. Plants were also grown in terracotta pots or steel tins (there being no plastic pots).
A lot of things have changed since 1903, but Dawson’s remains a Western Australian family owned business, operating a production nursery in Forrestfield and retail Dawson’s Garden World Centres at Forrestfield, Swanbourne, Joondalup and O’Connor.